Spain and Kosovo, on the same European table for the first time in history

Kosovo is no longer a problem of first order for diplomacy and Spanish policy. It remains a headache, an insistent point, but it is no longer something that pre

Spain and Kosovo, on the same European table for the first time in history

Kosovo is no longer a problem of first order for diplomacy and Spanish policy. It remains a headache, an insistent point, but it is no longer something that prevents the day to day of the European Union in the Balkans. In May 2018, the President of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, 'boycotted' the EU Summit with the Balkan countries for the presence of Kosovo. Rajoy attended the informal dinner with his 26 community colleagues, but in the morning left Bulgaria and returned to Spain, leaving the representation at the event in the room, which can not enter the room, which can only enter The heads of government. Last year a new encounter with aspiring perenns to enter the Union was performed virtually and there was Pedro Sánchez, while forcing a very careful choreography without flags, names or titles, so that no one could 'accuse' Attend an event with the Kosovar Leader of Equal as well. But this year, with a lot of land earned in a short time, the president will be in Slovenia and will sit in the same room, for the first time in history, with his equivalent Kosovar.

European and Spanish sources explain that the same scenification last year will be repeated. There will be no national flags (only that of the EU and that of the Slovenian Presidency, which this semester has the Rotary Trophone of the Council), or charges on the posters, so as not to refer to the Kosovar Leader as Prime Minister. It is something symbolic and "almost childish, but perfectly assumable and that works", in the words of a continental diplomat, and leaves everyone satisfied. To the institutions, the Balkan neighbors and the five Member States that still do not recognize Kosovo: Greece, Slovakia, Spain, Romania and Cyprus.

One of Sánchez's messages as soon as we get to power is that the position on Kosovo was going to change. It was articulated through the Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, but also through its predecessor, Josep Borrell, which as Minister had defended some positions but as a high representative for the EU's foreign policy had to move towards another very different. The executive wanted a more pragmatic position, "be fewer papists than the Pope," then explained some representative. If the Serbs and the Kosovars were sitting down, negotiating, tending bridges, Spain could not be more radical. And it went from vetoes and forcing soccer matches in neutral fields that the selection of Kosovo already competes in our country and to enthusiastically support the negotiations.

From Moncloa insist that the presence of the president in the same room as his counterpart, Albin Kurti, is not any kind of recognition. That the premise is still the same and that Madrid will change its position if there is an understanding between Pristina and Belgrade. But that it did not make sense to continue with the same practices that until now, leaving the room. "Nobody understood it, one thing is not to recognize and another leave, that any partner shares it," says a veteran Spanish official. For the rest of partners it is not something so hot. They have their own reasons but there are commercial and even political ties. Greece (which has strong links with Serbia for decades) and Cyprus oppose the conflict on the island with Turkey, although Nicosia does recognize the Kosovar passport to enter the country and obtain a Schengen visa. Slovakia for tensions with the Hungarian minority, although its approach is the deepest of all, to the point that the former Foreign Minister of the country will be responsible for the EU for the region. The case of Romania is the same, since the Declaration of Independence of Kosovo ignited the aspirations of its Hungarian minority, which took the streets.

For Spain the summit is an important step, but also a focus of tensions. The international media, especially from the region, have been very interested these days about what the government's president would do or stop doing the image of the empty chair of Sofia in 2018 still very fresh. They interpret the change as something relevant, but that only adds pressure in Madrid. It is very complicated logistically to avoid uncomfortable photos. There will be a family, with all the leaders, tomorrow, Wednesday morning, but others may be proposed, something that national diplomacy expects to avoid. They know that the subject is delicate and the executive's position in the Catalan crisis is very present in each gesture.

From Pristina they aim that there will be care, no provocation, without forcing the machine. There is a lot at stake and do not want additional tensions or crashes with European capitals, or with the EU itself, for scoring some points with images or statements. During the hottest moments of the Catalan crisis, the senior leaders of the region already said that their case was not comparable to that of the Autonomous Community, and exterior recognizes that relationships are now better than ever before.

Updated Date: 08 October 2021, 18:19

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